Why Summer Tutoring Doesn’t Need to be a Punishment

By Dr. Rick Bavaria


Summer tutoring is right for lots of reasons. Individual attention works. Kids need to keep their brains sharp and active. They catch up. They keep up. They get ahead. However, kids sometimes won’t recognize these positives and don’t understand why summer tutoring doesn’t need to be a punishment. After all, summer’s for slowing down, not shutting down.

It’s important to sit down with your kids and have an honest conversation with them. Ask them “what concerns do you have about summer tutoring?” Maybe your child doesn’t want his or her friends to find out because they’ll think he or she is in trouble or has bad grades. Perhaps your kids think they’ll miss out on pool time and trips to the park. Once you know what their concerns are, you can come up with a plan to address them together.

Help your child understand that tutoring over the break is actually a good thing. Summer is a time for learning new things, improving rusty skills, and discovering new interests and talents.

Here are some summer tutoring tips I’ve developed over the years.

1. Make learning part of everyone’s summer. While one or two kids are learning from tutors, the rest of you can pitch in too. Everyone in the family can spend some time this summer learning something new or delving deeper into a favorite topic. Share results regularly. Support one another’s efforts and interests. When everyone’s involved, it’s impossible to feel alone.

2. Make a summer goal. Math skills. Reading comprehension. Organization. Note-taking. Learning more about something that’s not covered in school. Together, pinpoint a goal or two (no more) that will keep kids busy and focused. A tutor will keep them on track, nudge them along with encouragement, and be generous with the high-fives.

3. Applaud accomplishment and effort. A tutor will keep you informed of the kids’ progress. Celebrate each improvement with simple summer treats, a little later bedtime, or some quality time alone with you.

4. Watch the confidence rise. Tutors give individual attention and kids respond. Their skills improve. They amaze themselves with their progress. Their confidence rises. You get a warm and fuzzy feeling. What’s not to like?

5. Make it real. Show that you notice improvements. Remark how the tutoring is going to help when the new school year starts. “You figured out the waiter’s tip before I did! You’re getting pretty good at those math skills. Fifth grade isn’t so scary now, is it? Let’s play some badminton before bedtime.”

6. Make it fun. There’s no reason why learning shouldn’t be fun. Tutors know how to make learning fun, personalizing lessons for each kid’s interests and enthusiasms. It’s what they do.

As a veteran educator, I know the effectiveness of tutoring. I’ve seen it work; I’ve been part of it and marveled at the lives it’s touched. Summer’s the perfect time to see this firsthand. If you’re interested in learning more about what Sylvan Learning has going on this summer, check out SylvanLearning.com to find the best tutoring programs for your child’s needs.